Taking care of the massive amounts of carbon dioxide polluting our atmosphere is a very real concern for a long of researchers.
A potential solution for this problem is the adoption of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technologies which help convert carbon dioxide into other chemicals, which also producing energy.
The only problem with this technology is the fact that until now, it took a lot of energy to capture carbon, and there weren’t any reliable methods of converting it into useful chemicals either.
But, now, thanks to the efforts of researchers from Cornell University, we may finally have a solution that will bring this process into mainstream use.
This solution comes in the form of Electrochemical Cells that could both capture carbon dioxide and generate power at the same time.
These cells would use a metal and mixed streams of carbon dioxide and oxygen as the active ingredients of the anode and cathode respectively.
The electrochemical reactions between these two would convert the carbon dioxide into carbon-rich compounds while producing electricity as a byproduct.
While popular elements like lithium and sodium could have been used for this process, the researchers decided to choose Aluminum, because of it’s abundant nature, and the fact that it’s less reactive in comparison.
During experiments conducted to test this theory, the electrochemical cell were able to generate approximately 13 ampere-hours for each gram of carbon it captured, without any catalyst or high temperatures requirements.
In addition, it also converted carbon dioxide into aluminum oxalate, which can easily be converted into oxalic acid, a chemical widely used in various industrial applications.
The success of this process is a great thing, as it proves that there is infact a way to make cleaning up the environment a profitable business.
Now all the researchers have to do is focus on perfecting this process so that one day it could be used on a large scale without any extreme setup requirements.